Ceremoniously, the supermajority in charge of the Illinois legislature enacted a weak ethics reform bill that is aimed to dupe the people of Illinois with an election talking point.
I voted no on the Governor’s proposal to change Senate Bill 539 through his use of an amendatory veto. We live in Illinois and ethics reform requires big changes, not small feeble maneuvers. We need good faith legislation that will change the corrupt culture of Springfield.
Illinois’ last legislative inspector general, Carol Pope, resigned in protest over the lack of legislative sincerity in giving her subpoena powers to investigate their activities. Let’s remember, this appointee was appointed by fellow Democrats and then made clear she was not being given the tools to do her job, resigning in protest.
Meanwhile, I have continued to fight for substantive, transparent reforms along with the House Republican caucus. We have proposed creating a one-year revolving door ban for lawmakers hoping to become lobbyists. Our alternate plan gives more power to the legislative inspector general, and most importantly, the LIG would have subpoena power without prior approval from the Legislative Ethics Commission.
Even Gov. JB Pritzker concedes more reform is needed to restore the public’s trust in government. Yet, instead of using his amendatory veto pen to add real substance to this bill, he chose to cater to his party to protect them.
“I remain committed to making further advancements so the well-connected and well-protected cannot work the system to the detriment of working families across Illinois,” Pritzker stated.
He will need to forgive those of us who say the taxpayers of Illinois have waited long enough for this promised change. No one should be celebrating this legislation as a “victory”. We should not have to wait one more day to reform unethical practices in Illinois.
Elections have consequences. Those who question the sincerity of the majority party in Illinois to make meaningful reforms have yet another example to justify their cynicism with this watered-down legislation. I will continue to push for real and meaningful ethics reform that will bring actual change to Illinois government. It’s not going to happen with political manipulations, but rather only with bold changes.